Madison was great and I really loved seeing some friends back home and having some social time with people I know and then getting a chance to check in on my house. It was great spending time with friends and family in Chicago, but I  did not have the best time in Chicago. I am sure a long day and the ass kicking the Badgers took contributed to my slightly off emotional state. I do not like huge cities like Chicago. Walking thru the city and seeing the emptiness of nature, the non stop traffic, the out of control capitalism that tries to nickel and dime you at every turn, the emptiness of joy in people as they hustle and bustle to the next big thing just isn’t for me. I was eager to get back to nature and relax.

I flew back to Portland on Sunday 9/26 in the later afternoon and decided to get a hotel in Vancouver, Washington to plan the next steps of my trip and stopped for what turned out to be  some excellent craft breweries

It was going to be raining the next couple days so I decided to treat myself and stay at the Oregon Garden Spa and Resort in Silverton Oregon to get some massages, and visit the area for 3 days before trying to get a camp site at Mount Hood for the weekend. I made a quick stop in Portland to visit their arcade and play some pinball so I didn’t arrive at the resort before check in.

After checking in at the room at my resort I went out on Monday evening to visit a Tiki Bar in town that happened to be unexpectedly closed due to a driver crashing into the building the day before. Disappointed, I decided to drive the 8 minutes back to the resort to enjoy the lounge and restaurant there. I had parked along the street near a 4 way intersection.  I backed up along the curb to give myself plenty of visibility before pulling out and made sure the way was clear via my mirrors, eyes and backup camera. Just after I pulled on to the road I suddenly hear a long scrapping and bang… What the hell?? I pull over immediately and see my damaged car and this huge pickup style truck behind me.

The driver of the large truck was high off the ground and had taken a left turn at the intersection. He was not paying attention and hit me after he completed his turn. He did some good damage to my car leaving my rear trim hanging down and also did some damage to my tire well. Damnit! Damnit! Damnit!, @#$!@%$#@ this was not the kind of scenario you want to happen on a cross country trip. I knew this was an accident and kept my cool outwardly but was pretty pissed off. If the other driver had been paying attention to what he was doing this was totally avoidable.

I called the police to get a report as we exchanged insurance information and I assessed the damage to my car. After pulling some material from the  tire well my car appeared drivable and I used a bungee cord to hold up the damaged trim to get back to the hotel. I had not gotten into a traffic accident since my early 20’s

I was determined to spend time in nature when I flew back and when that wasn’t possible due to the heavy rains I decided to book some time at a spa to relax and detoxify from the emptiness of Chicago. Now one of the worst scenarios possible happened to me with a damaged car that was incapable of driving to the remote destinations I had in mind. I drove back to my hotel and filled the claim with my insurance company to get the ball rolling on that. There was only 1 body shop in the area and a couple 30 minutes away in Salem that were all closed at this hour. There was nothing else I could do that night.

I went to the hotel lounge to relax, have some bourbon and dinner. Of course there was a local band playing country music which I am not a fan off to top off my day. I tried to keep my spirits up and ignore   the sadness of the situation building inside me which was difficult. Is this the end to the positive attitude I had embraced in my recovery from the house fire? What else can the universe throw at me? I went to bed pretty early after opening a bottle of some local bourbon I had picked up.

I had the worst time sleeping during the night and woke up at 1am to a very heavy rainstorm battering down on the resort. It was difficult to sleep with the noise from torrential downpour. I put on some TV shows I had on my laptop. I am not sure if I ever actually got back to sleep as I rewatched episode of The Wire. I started calling around 7:30 in the morning to the Honda dealership nearby, but they did not to body work. I then drove 2 miles to the body shop in town and was meet by a very friendly gentlemen and we got the ball rolling on the process.

He was backed up and we called some other body shops in a 45 minute radius but they were all backed up to November. I really liked the attitude of this man and his willingness to help, he was sympathetic to my situation and offered to jump me forward in line, however this could still take a month or longer depending on part availability.  He also started the ball rolling on finding me a rental car. I had told him of my needs of a hitch receiver for my bike rack and want of roof racks my cargo carrier for him to forward to the rental company.

I drove back to my room for an online meeting and later a scheduled massage. The sun was out for the first time in a couple days.  I sorely needed some brightness in my otherwise gloomy last 24 hours. The massage was very relaxing and a much needed relief. I had a good massage therapist but I did realize I had gotten very spoiled by my physical therapists in Madison, Hali and the perfection in her technique.

After my massage I had my first conversations with my claim adjust who answered some questions and helped me understand the process and how things were go along. He was sympathetic to my situation being 3500 miles away from home and on a road trip and very helpful and thorough in his responses. I remember all the help Liberty Mutual gave me in the aftermath of the fire and their helpfulness and that helped me rest a little easier.

I returned to the body shop and unfortunately the best car the rental place had was a truck without a hitch and no locking cover over the truck bed. Since the body shop would not be able to start on my car until tomorrow I decided to contact the rental place and explain my absolute need for a hitch receiver and preference for a roof racks or something big enough that would hold and secure all my gear. The agent was very helpful and was going to contact different branches to find me what I needed. I told him driving to an locations farther away was not an issue since the right car was imperative to continuing my trip

For tonight I am back at the resort, hoping a rental SUV or something similar can be found. For this trip to continue and allow me to have freedom to travel how I want, with what I want, a car that works is key.

I could always leave my bike here and reduce my gear for a couple weeks and restock from my car here, if needed, but it would not be optimal. I end tonight at my resort, wondering if the next day will bring me a car I can use. I am keeping my spirits up and I know something will work out, everything has eventually worked out this year when things were looking grim and I was confident this would be the same and I would figure out how to adjust….

TLDR: Madison was great, Chicago not so much. Craft beer in Vancouver was great. Got hit by an inattentive driver in Silverton, OR. It could take a month or longer to fix my car, still looking for a rental to use to continue my trip. To be continued…

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